Tell Your Teens That ‘Social Smoking’ Is Still Smoking

social smokingThe many justifications for smoking in both kids and adults has a wide range. “Stress smoking” and “special occasions” are some of the ones I’ve heard countless times along with “reward smoking,” you know, for doing such a great job of quitting smoking? But in the context of teenagers who may or may not have just as many unsubstantial reasons for lighting up, a new study reveals that “social smoking” — just having a couple cigarettes with friends at parties — has as many health repercussions as well, smoking.

Northumbria University gathered 84 students in which a third were non-smokers, a third identified as “smokers,” and the final third prefered “social smokers.” TIME reports that this last group smoked “about 20 cigarettes once or twice a week, usually on weekends.” But when testing the memories of all three groups, “social smokers” it turned out exhibited the same patterns as smokers:

The participants were given a video-based memory test in which they watched a short clip of a busy shopping area and were asked to remember a series of predetermined actions at specific locations shown during the clip. For example, they were asked to remember to text a friend when passing a certain store or to exchange a jumper they had previously purchased.

Based on the results, the researchers found that both groups of smokers performed significantly worse on the memory tasks than the non-smokers and there was no performance difference between the two smoking groups.

Dr. Tom Heffernan, senior lecturer in psychology at Northumbria University, said it best when commenting on how smoking causes “accelerated” cerebral damage:

”This new research suggests that restricting smoking to weekends makes no difference ”” smoking damages your memory.”

Even worse, researchers note that “social smokers” are less likely to go to efforts to quit because they don’t consider themselves to be “real smokers.” The data though, at least in this tiny study, suggests otherwise with all the same risks and health damages — regardless of if they’re relegating that nicotine to weekend parties or not.

(photo: Shutterstock)

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